Babies Need Sponge Baths Until Their Umbilical Cords Fall Off Heres How To Give A Newborn A Bath With Tips On Keeping The Routine Safe
Baby’s first bath can fill a new parent with trepidation. You’re still not entirely comfortable handling this tiny person, and it feels strange covering her body in water. But soon enough you’ll master the sponge-bathing processand you’ll get a squeaky clean infant on the way! Here’s everything you need to know about bathing your newborn.
Bathing Your Baby Safely
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day, but if they really enjoy it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
It’s best not to bathe your baby straight after a feed or when they’re hungry or tired. Make sure the room you’re bathing them in is warm.
Have everything you need at hand: a baby bath or clean washing-up bowl filled with warm water, 2 towels, a clean nappy, clean clothes and cotton wool.
How Do I Bath My Baby
It helps to be organised before giving your baby a bath. Take time to plan beforehand and be prepared so you can bath your baby safely.
- Use a non-slip bath mat on the floor and in the bath. A towel on the bottom on the bath is a good alternative to help your baby feel secure.
- Fill the bath with warm water. An ideal temperature is around 37-38 degrees Celsius. You can check the temperature of the bath water with your elbow or wrist, it should feel neutral or slightly warm on your skin. You may also choose to use a bath thermometer.
- Run cold water through the tap after filling the bath to avoid the risk of burning.
- Talk gently to your baby as you lower them into the bath.
- Hold your baby securely with one hand, using your free hand to wash your babys skin. Pay particular attention to their skin folds. Use plain water on their face, especially around their eyes and mouth, then use baby wash or soap on their skin and hair.
- Lift your baby gently out of the bath on onto a clean, dry towel. Gently pat their skin dry and make sure you dry inside their creases.
Step by step guide on how to give your newborn a bath.
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Where To Bath Your Newborn
You can give your newborn a bath in a small plastic bath or even in the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink might be easiest in the first few weeks. A plastic baby bath is probably easier once your baby gets bigger.
You can bath your baby in any room thats warm, safe and clean it doesnt have to be a bathroom.
You can also shower with your baby. Keep your babys face away from the pouring water and make sure to use warm, not hot, water.
Wash Your Baby’s Face
Wash your baby’s face before you take off any of their clothing because some babies freak out when they’re naked and cold. Dampen a cotton ball or a washcloth, and wipe their eyelids from the inside corner out. Use one cotton ball for each eye. With another damp cotton ball, clean around their nose. You don’t need to use soap on their face. Always keep one hand on Baby when dipping the washcloth in the sink, and don’t soak it completely in order to minimize drips.
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How To Sponge Bathe A Newborn
For the first week or so after birth, youll want to give baby a quick, gentle sponge bath. Heres how.
Step 1: Gather supplies. Use our handy baby bath supplies checklist to make sure youve got everything you need. At a minimum, youll want a dry towel, clean diaper, washcloths and baby soap at the ready. Have all your supplies within arms reach so you dont have to step away, Smith advises. Never leave a baby alone in the bath, even for a second.
Step 2: Pick a place. Decide where youll be giving baby that newborn bath. While not strictly necessary, baby bathtubs are convenient. They can be placed in the sink or tub, and some have a hammock-style sling that supports babys head. Choose a spot thats fairly warm and where its comfortable for you to kneel or stand while keeping a hand on baby at all times.
Step 3: Wash small sections at a time. After removing her clothes and diaper and placing her in the baby bathtub , youll want to cover baby with another towel, lifting only a small area at a time and patting dry as you go. Using a washcloth dipped in warm water, gently wipe baby all over, paying special attention to her diaper area and any creases and rolls.
Setting Up A Baby Bath Safely: Tips
Drowning and scalds are the two main risks with bath time. With these simple tips, you can avoid these risks and keep bath time fun and safe for your baby:
- Take the phone off the hook or turn your phone off while bathing your baby. Youll be less likely to get distracted.
- Make sure you have everything you need nearby for example, towel, washcloth, bath toys, lotion or shampoo, clean clothes and clean nappy. This way you can keep your eyes and hands on your baby at all times.
- Make sure all bath lotions, shampoos and electrical appliances are out of babys reach.
- Take off your watch and jewellery. Wash your hands.
- Check the water temperature is 37-38°C before you put your baby in.
- Dry and dress your baby on a towel on the floor if possible. Its safer than on a change table. If youre using a change table, always keep one hand on your baby.
- Place your baby in a safe area like a cot after theyre dry and dressed.
- Empty the bath as soon as youre finished with it. Remove bath plugs from the bath when theyre not in use.
Children can drown in a few seconds in very shallow water. Never leave your baby alone in the bath, even if youre using a bath seat or cradle. Never leave older children or siblings to supervise. If youre disturbed by the phone or another task, take your baby out of the bath.
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When Will Your Baby Be Ready For His First Tub Bath
After your babyâs umbilical cord stump falls off, you can transition from sponge baths to actual baths in a sink or a baby bathtub.
His first bath in a tub should be gentle and quick however, you might need to go back to sponge baths if your baby fusses a lot and simply doesnât like this new activity.
Additional Newborn Bath Tips
- As you move from one area of the body to another, change the washcloth parts to keep the clean cloth on cleaner parts of the body.
- Pat the skin with a washcloth and blot dry with a towel rather than vigorously scrubbing, which may irritate your bathing babys sensitive skin.
- Spot-cleaning works best for babies who do not like either a total sponge bath or an immersion bath. Clean the areas that get the oiliest, sweaty, or dirty.
- Clean the eyes on an as-needed basis rather than during the regular bath. Infants often protest eye cleaning, which may set off a protest for the entire bath. Using cotton balls and warm tap water , wash accumulated discharge out of the corners of your babys eyes.
- Cotton-tipped applicators are handy when cleaning little crevices in and behind the outer ear, but never try to clean inside the ear canal, as you may damage the canal or eardrum.
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How To Bathe Your Baby Like A Pro
If youre feeling nervous about washing your baby for the first time, thats normal for a new parent. Who wouldnt be nervous to wash a delicate baby with little to no sleep?
Rest assured that the process is much easier than you think. Although the following steps may seem overwhelming, they will soon become second nature to you as you get the hang of baby bath time:
- Check the water temperature. Always check the water temperature before bathing your little one. You can do this by dipping your elbow in the water or by purchasing a bath thermometer .
- Gently place your baby in the tub. As you lower your baby into the tub, be sure to support their head and neck. With one arm supporting the head and neck, use your other arm to gently bathe them.
- Use cotton pads to wipe their eyes. Gently swipe a damp cotton pad across your babys eyes. Use a different cotton pad for each eye to avoid spreading a possible infection.
- Use a washcloth for their head and neck. Use a baby washcloth to clean the neck, head and behind the ears. Dont forget the creases and rolls.
- Rinse off the cleanser. Using a small cup of water, carefully pour water to remove all soap residue from your babys skin.
- Remove them from the tub. Pick your baby up from underneath their arms, making sure that their head is supported. Place them on a flat surface and gently pat them dry.
- Apply moisturizer. Before getting them dressed, slather a baby-safe moisturizer all over their skin to prevent dryness.
If Your Newborn Hates The Bath
You may think you are doing something wrong if your little one cries or otherwise protests during bath time. However, many newborns dislike being bathed at first.
One reason some babies resist bath time is that they dont like the sudden temperature change. You can lessen this transition by slowly getting your baby into the water. Wrap them in a towel at first and gradually immerse them in the water, keeping the towel on until they are all the way in.
You can also experiment with water temperatures to see what your baby likes best. And always have a warm towel ready when they come out so that the air on their wet skin doesn’t feel too jarring.
Some newborns tolerate baths better if you are holding them. As a result, many parents decide to bathe with their babies in their arms. This can be a wonderful bonding experience, but remember to keep safety in mind. Only bathe with your baby when you are fully alert, make sure you have a towel ready, and possibly another grown-up to hand your baby to when you are done. And dont use soaps and other bath products geared toward adult skin.
Finally, keep bath time fun for your baby! Newborns cant play with bath toys yet, but that doesnt mean they cant be entertained by them. Funny faces and games of peek-a-boo can be very helpful as well.
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Why Is It Important To Bathe A Newborn Baby
The benefits of bathtime go way beyond a basic cleanup! Heres why baths are good for babies:
They boost bonding. Bathtime quickly becomes a highlight of the day because its all about time spent together. Taking care of your baby lets her know you care, so gaze into her eyes, kiss that yummy baby belly, count those tiny toes and sing silly songs as you wash. Feeling your gentle touch and hearing your voice will let your little one know how much she’s loved.
Theres so much learning. Yup, there’s plenty to learn in the tub. Tickle your little one’s senses by trickling water gently onto her tummy or teach a lesson in cause-and-effect by showing how to kick the water and create a splash. And don’t forget a play-by-play as you wash name her little body parts as you bathe and she’ll be learning a tub-full of words!
They can be soothing. You probably already know this from your own bathing experience, but nothing’s more calming and comforting than a soak in a tub after a long day. Up the relaxation even more by trying your hand at infant massage afterwards. While most little ones love it, if your baby balks , don’t sweat it just cuddle instead.
They may induce sleep. There’s even more reason to love bathing your baby, especially if you add it to her bedtime routine. The warm water, warm room and warm feeling of being safe, secure and loved work magic and will put your baby in the mood to snooze.
When Should I Give My Baby A Bath
- There is no set age when you should give your baby a bath. Babies get cold quickly, and thats more risky for them than being a bit dirty.
- If youre anxious about bathing your little one, you dont need to put them into a bath until you feel confident about it.
- You may prefer to just wash your little ones face and bottom to begin with. This is sometimes called topping and tailing.
- If youre feeling confident about bathing your baby you can do so when you wish.
- Choose a bath time when your little one is content and awake. Its better not to bathe your baby straight after a feed or when theyre hungry or tired.
- Some babies love bath time to begin with, others dont. You may need to try different ways of bathing your baby and at different times of day, to find out what suits you both. Choose a time of day when your baby is happy and awake .
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How To Bathe Your Newborn Baby Step
Fill the baby bath with water, to a depth of around 8 to 10 centimetres. Stir the water thoroughly to get rid of any hot or cold spots, and then check the baby bath temperature. Test the water by dipping your wrist or elbow into the water. It should feel warm, but not hot. If you use a bath thermometer, it should show around 37 degree Celsius, but itâs still a good idea to test the water with your own skin.
Hold your newborn on your lap and clean his or her face with wet cotton wool. Start at the nose and move outwards, cleaning around the eyes. Use a fresh piece of cotton wool for each eye, and another for cleaning around each ear.
Support your baby over the bath or bowl and carefully wash his or her hair with plain water from your cupped hand.
Gently dry your little oneâs hair , then remove the nappy and wipe away any poo.
Now, with one hand holding the upper arm and supporting the head and shoulders, lower your baby gently into the bath.
Keep your infantâs head clear of the water, and gently swish water over your babyâs body with your free hand. You might like to use a small sponge for this.
Carefully lift your baby out of the bath and pat him or her dry with the other towel. Take care to dry in all the creases and folds of the skin.
Bathing Your Newborn In A Bath
Youâll still want to give your baby girl or boy a proper bath every few days or so. If you feel a bit nervous about giving your newborn his or her first bath, donât worry. Bathing a slippery, squirming newborn baby can take some practice, but youâll soon get the hang of it.Bath time is also a great time for your partner, a grandparent or other close relative to lend a hand. Delegating bath duties isnât just a fantastic bonding opportunity for the person doing the bathing, it can be an opportunity for Mum to grab a little extra âme timeâ â especially during the whirlwind first few weeks with your newborn.When the time comes, itâs important to be prepared, so make sure the room is warm enough and get everything ready before you start giving your baby a bath:
Your babyâs bath â this can be a special baby bath or you could use a clean washing-up bowl. A smaller baby bath might help your child feel more secure.
A clean nappy
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Washing And Bathing Your Baby
You don’t need to bathe your baby every day. You may prefer to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom instead. This is often called “topping and tailing”.
Choose a time when your baby is awake and content. Make sure the room is warm. Get everything ready beforehand. You’ll need a bowl of warm water, a towel, cotton wool, a fresh nappy and, if necessary, clean clothes.
How To Make Bath Time Fun
Here are a few well tested tips on how to make your babys bath time fun:
- Choose a time when youre feeling relaxed and not rushed bathing should be a fun time for you and your baby. You could choose this time to be after a vigorous playtime so your baby is in need of a sit down!
- Dont bathe your baby straight after a feed or when she/he is hungry or really tired.
- Take time to make sure the environment is comfortable, nice and warm, no draughts.
- Involve dad or your partner as its a great opportunity to have special bonding time.
- Get everything ready before you start as it is crucial that you dont leave your baby unattended in the bath at any time.
- Remember when you get your baby out of the bath he/she is going to enjoy being wriggly and wet so hold on tight to your sweet smelling slippery baby.
- You could put a towel around your baby, and offer a breastfeed to help keep them still whilst you dry him/her.
- In the bath your baby can help to wash themselves and will also enjoy lying down and swishing around, so make sure the water level doesnt come past their ears. You can teach them to start learning to wash his/her hair.
- Your baby will also enjoy pouring water over their head plenty of bath time toys that help with washing and rinsing are a must.
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